Post-Holiday Recycling!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season! For information regarding Christmas tree recycling, how to safely recycle old Christmas lights, and wrapping paper recycling, see below!

Wrapping paper

Most gift wrap is recyclable, except plastic wraps or metallic papers. All cardboard and paperboard packaging is also recyclable. Please reuse ribbons and bows or discard in the trash.  If you do not have curbside recycling where you live, you may utilize the Town of Normal’s drop-off locations.

Christmas trees

Residents of Bloomington and Normal enrolled in those municipalities’ waste collection programs may dispose of their real (non-artificial) Christmas tree by placing it at the curb for collection on your regularly scheduled waste collection day. As these trees will be chipped into mulch, please be sure to remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights, etc. Please do not put your tree or any other waste in the street.

For residents outside of Bloomington or Normal, please check with your local municipality for tree collection options. If you do not have tree collection service at your home or in your municipality, Twin City Wood Recycling will accept your tree for chipping into mulch at their facility at 1606 W Oakland Avenue in Bloomington at a cost of $2 per tree. Call (309) 827-9663 for more information and operating hours.

Christmas lights & other e-waste

Illinois law bans most consumer electronics from landfills–they must be recycled instead. Residents can recycle strings of Christmas lights, cords, and related electronic items, regardless of condition, at one of the many locations listed below.

Did Santa bring you a new TV? Note that only two local sites now accept the older tube-style CRT TVs and monitors for recycling. See “Items Accepted” for each of the e-waste recycling collection points below.

Location: Best Buy, 2103 N Veterans Pkwy Suite 200, Bloomington, 309-663-8090
Items Accepted: Computers, computer accessories, monitors, televisions up to 32″ (flatscreens up to 60″), all types of radios, VCRs, cameras, etc. Damaged or non-working items accepted. Customers are limited to bringing in 3 units per day per household.
Items Not Accepted: appliances, microwaves, TVs that are consoles, rear-projections, or DLPs or larger than 32″, items with freon such as air conditioners, dehumidifiers, refrigerators. No business generated waste.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 am-9:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am-8:00 pm

Location: Home Sweet Home Warehouse Operations, 1700 W Washington St., Bloomington, 309-828-1530
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs,
Microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories
All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices. All forms of electronic media and their cases: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes (ONLY at Mission Mart location)
Items Not Accepted: No CRT (tube-style) TVs or monitors, no VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business-generated waste
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:00 am-4:00 pm, 24 hour drop-off

Location: Habitat For Humanity ReStore, 1402 W Washington, Bloomington, 309-454-6047
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs, Microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted. All forms of electronic media and their cases: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes. All forms of printer cartridges including both inkjet and toner. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories. All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices.
Items Not Accepted: No CRT (tube-style) TVs or monitors, no VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business generated waste
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10:00 am-5:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm

Location: Normal Public Works Garage, 1301 Warriner St., Normal, 309-454-9571
Items Accepted: Computers, laptops,televisions, monitors, printers, fax, scanners, copiers, peripherals, phone systems, all types of radios, VCRs, microwaves, toaster ovens, hair dryers, curling irons, cash registers, cameras, blenders, and other small appliances. Damaged or non-working items accepted.
All forms of electronic media: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs et al, game cartridges, DAT, DLT, and virtually all other type of computer tapes. All forms of printer cartridges including both inkjet and toner. All types of cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories. All of the small computer accessories such as MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand- held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices.
Items Not Accepted: No VHS tapes or audio cassettes, no business generated waste
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 am-2:30 pm; the first Saturday of every month 8:00 am-12:00 pm
Summer hours 6:00 am-1:30 pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day)

For more information on recycling, hazardous waste disposal, and more, you can always consult other sections of this or call us at 309-454-3169.

Sugar Creek Stewards Workday

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Come join us for our December workday along Sugar Creek! We need help improving Sugar Creek in Bloomington near Tipton Parks and in Normal, near Anderson, Fairview. by clearing invasive plant species and managing the non-invasive plants. We’ll work the Fairview site for our December work day.

The next workday is Saturday, December 17, from 9 am to 12 pm. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older (or 14 and accompanied by a parent or guardian) and be able to hike along uneven terrain and safely use basic hand tools such as loppers and bow saws. Please wear warm weather appropriate clothing and bring your own work gloves and (reusable) bottle of water. We have scheduled work days the 3rd Saturday of the month throughout the year – invasive species never sleep, so neither can we!

The Sugar Creek Stewards is a Clean Water Program of the Ecology Action Center, and is supported by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal. For more information, contact us.

 

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Details on worksite and meeting locations will be provided to registered volunteers prior to the workday. To become a regular EAC volunteer and be automatically contacted for future Sugar Creek Steward workdays, register at EAC-Volunteer.

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Giving Tuesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 is #givingtuesday, an international day of giving.  Please consider making a donation to support the Ecology Action Center’s work to improve our local environment.  We welcome contributions towards a few different funds, depending on what priorities you choose to support.  As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.  Thank you for your support!

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Sugar Creek Stewards Workday

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Come join us for our November workday along Sugar Creek! We have had a great group coming out throughout the summer to work on Sugar Creek in Bloomington and in Normal, near Anderson, Fairview and Tipton Parks, and have been clearing all sorts of invasive plant species and managing the good ones! In November, we’ll be back along Sugar Creek in Bloomington!

The next workday will be Saturday, November 19, from 9 am to 12 pm. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older (or 14 and accompanied by a parent or guardian) and be able to hike along uneven terrain and safely use basic hand tools such as loppers and bow saws. Please wear long pants, closed toe shoes, and bring your own work gloves and bottle of water (reusable bottle, of course). We will work on the 3rd Saturday of the month throughout the year – invasives never sleep, so neither can we!

The Sugar Creek Stewards is a Clean Water Program of the Ecology Action Center, and is supported by the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal. For more information, contact us.

 

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Details on worksite and meeting location will be provided to registered volunteers prior to the workday. To become a regular EAC volunteer and be automatically contacted for future Sugar Creek Steward workdays, register at EAC-Volunteer.

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The Refuge Food Forest End of Season Work Day

Installing cages, wrapping trees, pruning, finishing the insect hotel.food-forest-in-early-morning-mist

Solar Bloomington-Normal Shines and Surpasses Goals, Lowers Solar Costs

November 15, 2016

SolarBNMclean County, IL, 11/15/16 – The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in partnership with The Ecology Action Center (EAC) of Normal, have surpassed their goal of 250 kW solar for home, business and farm installation in McLean County through their Solar Group Buy Program. Meeting this benchmark gave participants an additional discount of 3% on top of the already discounted group solar base cost, making solar even more accessible and affordable for residents through the power of volume purchasing. The program ended on October 31 with 434 kW committed on 32 homes and businesses in McLean County. Notably, two local businesses, Professional Self Storage/Foundry LLC (123 kW) and 121 N. Main Street LLC (75 kW), will be building the largest two arrays.

The largest solar array was a collaboration between Professional Self Storage and the tenants of the Foundry project (a development by Workbench Collaborative), including new and existing businesses in the community – Green Top Grocery, Bloomington Cycle and Fitness, and Gingerbread House.

“Green Top has long dreamed of using solar power to help reduce our carbon footprint,” said Michael Pennington, Green Top Grocery General Manager. “We wouldn’t have been able to realize that dream without the group-buy program and other incentives that helped make it financially feasible for The Foundry LLC to include solar power in our development.”

prendergast-second-6-3Caryn Davis of Bloomington Cycle explained that the solar installation is consistent with their values as a business. “Our business model has always focused on making it easier for our employees (and customers) to ride to work. Solar aligns with our belief that anything you can do to reduce your negative impact on our environment, is the right thing to do.”

A total of 20 informational Power Hour sessions were held since the program’s launch in April, reaching over 230 individuals. Michael Brown, Executive Director of the Ecology Action Center, was happy the Ecology Action Center could help with this program, “As we begin work on a new clean air initiative for Bloomington-Normal, strategies like this are a win-win, helping residents and businesses lower their energy bills while also improving air quality with clean, renewable energy”.

Education is the core of the program. MREA, EAC, and StraightUp Solar staff educate participants on all aspects of the solar process, making the entire project easily accessible and cost-effective for participants. Through the program, participants don’t have to worry about selecting an installer, applying for state and federal incentives, working with the utility, zoning, or any other task that might otherwise deter an individual from going solar. The Group Buy Program helps participants navigate the easiest and most cost effective route to solar.

“MREA and EAC work together to educate those who are interested in going solar,” said Peter Murphy, solar program manager at MREA. “The goal is for folks to learn about solar, which can seem daunting at first, and then go into the process with eyes wide open.”

Together the EAC and MREA have solidified local company StraightUp Solar as the program’s installer through a competitive bid process. StraightUp Solar has installed hundreds of solar arrays and has both master electricians and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified professionals on staff. MREA is an advocate for having NABCEP-certified installers on all solar projects to ensure systems are completed to the highest standard of quality and safety. StraightUp Solar invited another local small business, Wilcox Electric, to assist with the program’s many installations. StraightUp Solar provides interested participants free site assessments, helping customers determine whether rooftop or ground-mounted solar will make sense on their property.

Interested participants had until September 30th to formally express interest in the program, with a deadline of October 31st to sign a contract. The Solar Bloomington-Normal Group Buy Program is brought to you by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), with support from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. For more information about the Solar Bloomington-Normal group buy, contact MREA’s Solar Program Manager, Peter Murphy, at 414-988-7963, or peterm@midwestrenew.org.

The MREA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Founded in 1990, the MREA promotes renewable energy and sustainable living through education and demonstration. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit www.midwestrenew.org.

The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit environmental agency with a mission to inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment. The EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, outreach, and technical assistance in McLean County.

 

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Support EAC climate efforts – donate to Climate Ride

CR_logoIn 2016 the level of carbon emissions reached a new threshold, never dropping below 400ppm at any time over the course of the year; this is the first time this has ever happened during the human existence. In the same way, average global temperatures continue to increase each and every year.  The first American climate refugees began their resettlement from Isle De Jean Charles, Louisiana to higher ground. Extreme weather events continue to increase in frequency.  The impacts of climate change are just beginning and much needs to be done to address the issue.

The Ecology Action Center is working to do its part, educating local residents on ways to reduce one’s footprint.  But additionally, EAC is working to quantify our local greenhouse gas emissions and work on community-wide strategies to reduce those emissions.  But these efforts take time and financial resources to bring them to fruition.

You can help by supporting local cyclists Kevin Loseke and Michael Brown as they bicycle 250 miles across Death Valley in February 2017 as part of Climate Ride to raise awareness of climate change and raise funds for the Ecology Action Center.  Climate Ride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that organizes life-changing charitable events to raise awareness and support sustainability, active transportation, and environmental causes. Climate Ride events support a collection of beneficiary organizations including the Ecology Action Center and Illinois Green Economy Network that are working to engage citizens in the possibility of a green economy, educate the public about the interconnected web of environmental issues related to the climate crisis, mobilize government and businesses to enact sound energy policies that promote renewables, and raise the profile of green transportation.

Please support Kevin and Michael with a tax-deductible contribution to Climate Ride.

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America Recycles Day – Mega Recycling

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This November 5, the Ecology Action Center and Illinois Wesleyan University will host a Mega Recycling Event at the IWU Hansen Center from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This event is one of thousands across the country to celebrate America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. With support from State Farm, Home Sweet Home Ministries HSHRenew and Midwest Fiber/Confidential Onsite Shredding, the fifth annual America Recycles Day MEGA Recycling event continues to grow to reach more people each year.  Volunteers ARE needed – please sign up below.

sfgreen_lockup_sflogo_1q09sfnWhile most families recycle the usual – plastic food containers, glass bottles, newspapers, and such, what about other items? Well, for one day, residents can recycle “the other” recyclables all in one place, all at the same time.

On America Recycles Day at IWU, residents can recycle:

  • Electronics (computers, radios, cellphones, ipods, VCRs, DVD players, etc.)
  • Clothes, textiles, and shoes (usable or not) courtesy of Home Sweet Home Ministries HSHRenew
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids, holiday lights, keys, printer cartridges (courtesy of the Lions Club)
  • Mattresses (Kern Mattress Outlet)
  • Wall-mounted thermostats containing mercury (Town of Normal Public Works)
  • Corks (natural – not synthetic corks)
  • Plastic grocery bags (Kroger)
  • TerraCycle items
  • Plus free confidential paper shreddingmwf

All items will be properly recycled by licensed recyclers where applicable.  Please note that some items cannot be accepted at this event.

  • HSHNo CRT/tube-style TVs or monitors
  • No batteries, CFLs, or fluorescent tubes
  • Household hazardous waste items will NOT be accepted – chemicals, paints, automotive fluids, car batteries, tires, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. These items cannot be accepted at this event but must wait for a future household hazardous waste collection event
  • This event is for residential materials only – no business materials can be accepted

Residents with questions about acceptable items or household hazardous waste, can contact the Ecology Action Center at (309) 454-3169.

America Recycles Day is a national program of Keep America Beautiful, and is the only nationally recognized day and community-driven awareness event dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S.  Since its inception in 1997, communities across the country have participated in America Recycles Day every November to educate, promote environmental citizenship, and encourage action. Learn more at AmericaRecyclesDay.org.

Volunteers Needed!

 

Protect our local water supplies – Curb your leaf piles

For many residents of Bloomington and Normal, leaf raking efforts are now already underway. Per directions from both municipalities, leaves should not be raked into the street. In addition to being a possible safety issue, leaves can act as a storm water pollutant. Washed into the storm sewer system and eventually into creek, streams, and lakes, the additional nutrients from the massive amounts of leaves breaking down can remove oxygen from the water, suffocating plants and wildlife.

mCLEANwater.orgThe Ecology Action Center urges residents to help keep our local waters clean – by either composting leaves or piling them neatly near the curb for collection.  For information on composting, contact the Ecology Action Center at (309) 454-3169 or consult ecologyactioncenter.org.

Information on protecting our local watersheds is available at the mCLEANwater.org website, a clearinghouse of local resources about our water and efforts to better protect it.

The Ecology Action Center is a not-for-profit environmental agency with a mission to inspire and assist residents of McLean County in creating, strengthening and preserving a healthy environment.  The EAC acts as a central resource for environmental education, information, outreach, and technical assistance in McLean County.